Caerphilly MP Wayne David brands UKIP’s Sam Gould “a liar” over claims he had EU Leave campaigners moved on
News | Richard Gurner | Published: 11:24, Tuesday June 14th, 2016.
Last updated: 14:48, Tuesday June 14th, 2016
MP Wayne David has labelled UKIP’s Sam Gould a “liar”, for making claims the Labour politician had a hand in stopping Vote Leave supporters campaigning in Caerphilly town centre.
Sam Gould, the chairman of Caerphilly’s UKIP branch, has also questioned the impartiality of Gwent Police because its Police and Crime Commissioner is campaigning for a remain vote in the upcoming European Union referendum, being held on June 23.
Labour’s PCC for Gwent Jeff Cuthbert has strongly refuted the claims.
Vote Leave campaigners were in Caerphilly town centre on Saturday, June 11, and said that soon after Mr David had walked past them, a highways officer from Caerphilly County Borough Council arrived and explained they were obstructing the pavement.
Officers from Gwent Police were also called after campaigners refused to move.
Mr Gould, who stood as UKIP’s Caerphilly candidate in this year’s Assembly election, filmed part of the incident as it unfolded and posted the footage on Facebook.
In it he claimed that the democratic process was being stifled.
He said: “Very interestingly, our Police and Crime Commissioner has been campaigning for Remain and we don’t see the police in Caerphilly – we don’t.
“But today, because we are out campaigning for Leave, they are everywhere to intimidate us. This is wrong. This is an affront to democracy.”
Speaking to Caerphilly Observer, Mr Gould said he thought it more than a coincidence that a council worker appeared shortly after Mr David had walked past Leave campaigners on Cardiff Road.
He said: “We were not blocking people – it was very clear for pushchairs and wheelchairs.
“The police were very reasonable and were doing what they were asked to do. Personally, I was surprised by the number of police sent out to us.”
The UKIP politician said Leave campaigners did not want to waste police time, packed up and joined fellow campaigners at the nearby Tommy Cooper statue – only to be told they had to move again.
He said: “I question the integrity of Gwent Police and I do question the impartiality they can have when we have a PCC campaigning for Remain.”
Mr Gould added that he would be writing to Mr Cuthbert and Gwent’s Police and Crime Panel.
Caerphilly MP Wayne David has hit back at claims he had anything to do with the moving of the Leave campaigners and described them as “lies”.
Mr David said: “It is a complete lie, and they know it is lies.
“It says a lot about their campaign and the sort of people they are quite frankly. It’s not even politics, it’s lower than the gutter.”
Asked if he had contacted Mr Gould over the video, which has been viewed around 500,000 times, Mr David replied: “There is no point. If he was a decent person, he wouldn’t produce a pack of lies like that, knowing it is lies.
“In my 40 years of active politics I have never come across such bare-faced, downright lying.
“It is a sad reflection that democracy in our country has been abused in this way.
“To attack the police and suggest they are being politically manipulated is quite ridiculous. The police in this country are impartial – and long may that continue.”
Since the posting of the video, which has had in excess of 500,000 views, Mr David said he has been subjected to verbal abuse and intimidation on the streets of Caerphilly and on Twitter and Facebook from Leave supporters.
Gwent’s PCC Jeff Cuthbert also refuted Mr Gould’s claims.
He said: “I was not present in Caerphilly town last Saturday morning so it would not be appropriate for me to comment on what happened in terms of the Leave and Remain campaigns. I must point out that any decision to deploy Police Officers or Police Community Support Officers is a matter for the Chief Constable and not that of my office.
“I have campaigned on the Europe referendum in a personal capacity but not in my official role as Police and Crime Commissioner and I have not used public resources. Guidance issued by the Cabinet Office clearly states that commissioners are not prohibited from undertaking political activity in a personal capacity.
“I support the right of anyone to campaign for their views provided that they conduct themselves in a peaceful and respectful manor.”
A spokesman for Caerphilly County Borough Council confirmed that Mr David had not made a complaint and that it had asked Remain campaigners, Leave Campaigners and an insurance firm to move to a more “appropriate location”.
He said: “Concerns were identified during a routine highway inspection about obstruction caused by a number of organisations within Caerphilly town centre. Each group was asked to move to a more appropriate location in the interests of highway safety.”
A spokeswoman for Gwent Police said: “Neither group had informed the local authority of their intentions or sought the correct permits.
“Through the agreement of the local authority, both groups were moved to a safe area and allowed to continue to campaign, officers remained at the location to ensure public safety and to allow for the lawful communication of their views.”
Caerphilly Inspector Andy O’Keefe said: “I am aware of the views held by members of both sides of the referendum and as such my officers will remain independent and impartial to ensure that both sides are able to express their right to freedom of speech.
“I would expect both groups, now that they are aware of the need to contact the local authority, to do so and by doing this agree a suitable and safe location to lawfully express their views.”